Smartphones are awesome, but man are some of them expensive. Lately we've been seeing some consumers turn to smartphones on the lower end of the spectrum in an effort to save some money, and UK carrier EE has just launched a smartphone directed at that group of thrifty shoppers. Say hello to the EE Kestrel, an Android powered smartphone that's available from the carrier for free with a relatively inexpensive plan.
Plans for the Kestrel start at £13.99 (about $23 US), which includes 500 minutes of talk, 500MB of 4G data, and unlimited texts. If that plan doesn't offer enough data or minutes for your liking, you can bump your monthly payment up to £18.99 ($31.41 US) to nab 1,000 minutes and 1GB of data, or £29.99 ($49.60 US) for unlimited minutes and 5GB of data. That isn't too bad considering this is 4G data we're talking about, and that the phone is free if you're willing to sign a two-year commitment.
What's the deal with the Kestrel, anyway? The phone, which is made by Huawei, comes packing an unnamed quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz (more than likely one of Huawei's own) and 1GB of RAM. The screen isn't much to write home about, clocking in at 4.5 inches with 960 x 540 resolution, but as far as free phones go, we've certainly seen worse. The Kestrel offers 8GB of microSD-expandable internal storage, will be running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, and has a 2,000mAh battery running the show. Finally, a 5MP rear-facing camera will serve as the phone's main shooter and can capture 720p video at 30 frames per second, while a 1MP camera has taken up residence on the front side of the device.
All in all, it doesn't seem like too bad a phone for the price, but if you're not crazy about committing to two-year contract, you can buy the phone from EE outright for £99 and sign up for a pay as you go plan. This isn't just a one-off from the likes of EE, either, as the carrier told Pocket-Lint that it will continue to launch new phones that bear the its branding. Will EE's inexpensive phones be a hit with consumers? Time will tell, but we imagine there are more than a few people who will be willing to take the Kestrel and the plan that comes along with it.